This GIMP (GNU) tutorial demonstrates how to create a Photographic Vignette Collage. To work along, you are welcome to download the Five Start Images I am working with Here. Unzip the file and open the Start Images onto GIMP’s workspace.
Vignette (pronounced vin-ne-et), is a term used to describe photographs with faded borders.
You can quickly Undo a step at any time by pressing Ctrl then Z. Alternatively, click a previous Undo History snapshot - Windows then Dockable Dialogues then click Undo History. In addition, to Zoom in (or Zoom out) of your image; from the top menu, choose View then select a Zoom Tool from the subsequent drop-down list.
Launch GIMP & Organise Its Workspace & Palettes
Ensure the Layers and the Undo History Palettes are visible, and then drag them into position over your workspace - (Windows then Dockable Dialogues - then click Layers and Undo History).
To open the Five Start Images onto GIMP’s workspace; from Gimps’ top menu, choose File then choose Open - Ctrl then O. Now, from the Open Image dialogue box, navigate to the folder where your Five Start Images reside, then Ctrl-click to highlight all five files - and then click Open.
Base Image And Image Orientation Notes
Because you’ll be Pasting four images onto the Base Image; it’s a good idea to choose your largest photograph as the Base Image. My Base Image’s (Spanish City Dome’s) Orientation is Landscape, which is perfect for my Landscape-orientated Collage. However, there’s nothing preventing you from utilising a Portrait-orientated Base Image, if you prefer.
Now, decide which image you would like to use as your Collage’s Base Image, and from its Top Right Menu, click the following Maximise tab.
Then from the Layers Palette, right-click over the Centralised Base Image’s Layer, and from the subsequent drop-down list, select Add Alpha Channel.
From the left-side Toolbox, activate the Ellipse Select Tool.
And enter the following Feather 60 and Replace the current selection settings into the left-side Options Box.
I have a Feather of 60 Pixels (px), and this ensures a good blend with the vignette’s background: - however, for personal feathering, (edge-fading) - this setting is worth experimenting with. For example, depending on your photograph and its Resolution, you may prefer more - (or less) Feathering.
To constrain the Elliptical Selection Marquee into a circle: press your Keyboard’s Shift Key - and simultaneously draw out your Elliptical Selection Marquee, it will then be constrained into a circle.
Now, left-click and drag out an Elliptical (or a Circular) Shaped Selection Marquee over the area you would like to keep. After its application, hover your cursor over the middle of the Selection Marquee, and you will see the following Four Repositioning Handles.
To resize the Selection Marquee Bounding Box; hover your cursor over one of the Square Reposting Handles, and it will become emboldened - as illustrated below.
Now, left-click and drag an emboldened handle in the direction you would like to Rescale your Selection Marquee’s Bounding Box - as illustrated below.
Your Start Image will automatically resize according to the direction you “stretch” the Selection Marquee’s Bounding Box.
Reposition Your Image Tip
To centralise the Selection Marquee, left-click inside it, and drag the image to a position of your choice.
You can tap the Selection Marquee into position, pixel by pixel by tapping your Keyboard’s Arrow Keys.
After you have applied, Resized and Repositioned your Elliptical Shaped Selection Marquee, so it covers an area you would like to retain, you are ready for the next step.
5/ Invert The Selection Marquee
Still working on the Base Image. From the top menu, choose Select and then choose Invert - Ctrl then i.
6/ Clear/Delete The Area Outside Of The Selection Marquee
From the top menu, choose Edit and then choose Clear. Alternatively, tap your Delete Key. This deletes the area outside of the Selection Marquee, leaving the following Chessboard Transparency.
Reapplying the Clear (and Delete) step will further Feather your image.
Congratulations, you have converted the Base Image into your first Vignette.
7/ Remove The Selection Marquee
From the top menu, choose Select and then choose None.
Scale Tool Note
If necessary, your Vignette can be Resized and Repositioned using the Scale Tool.
Scale Tool Tutorial Here.
After you have resized your Vignette, you are ready for the next step.
Move Tool Tip
You can drag your Vignette to a different position using the Move Tool.
It’s a good idea to save your Layered Image as a GIMP XCF File.
Now, activate one of the four remaining images. And Copy and Paste it onto the completed Base Image - as demonstrated back in Chapter 8.
Then activate the Transparent Base Image. And from its top menu, choose Edit then choose Paste as and then choose New Layer - as illustrated below.
Resize The Second Image Important
As you can see by my example above, my Second Image is not the same size as the Base Image: - this is illustrated by the right-side and bottom area’s extended Selection Marquee Bounding Box. Before continuing, it’s important to resize the Second Image so it is exactly the same size as the Base Image. You can do this by activating the Scale Tool, then left-clicking over your image. Now, gently tug the Right-side Repositioning Handle to the left. And then gently tug the Bottom Repositioning Handle Upwards. This in turn, will resize the Second Image so it is the same size as the Base Image.
When matching the two images, use the Underlying (Base) Image as a visual guide.
(Click the Scale tab to apply the change).
You’ll know the Second Image is the same size as the Underlying Base Image when you can no longer see the extended right-side and bottom Selection Marquees - as illustrated below
It’s safe to Close the original Second Image: - the image you have just Pasted onto the Base Layer.
Now, activate the Ellipse Select Tool, and drag out an Elliptical (or a Circular) Shaped Selection Marquee over an area of the second image that you would like to retain. Then Reposition and Resize the Selection Marquee - as demonstrated back in Chapter 4.
Then Invert the Selection Marquee; Ctrl then i, just as you did back in Chapter 5.
Then Delete (Clear) the area outside the Selection Marquee - (tap your D Key); as demonstrated back in Chapter 6.
13/ Remove The Selection Marquee
From the top menu, choose Select and then choose None.
Now, still working on the Second Image’s Layer. Activate the Scale Tool, and Resize and Reposition the Second Vignette Image as demonstrated earlier here.
Congratulations, you have created, Resized and Repositioned your Second Vignette and you are are now ready for the next step.
It’s a good time to save your Layered Image as a GIMP XCF File.
Now, it’s time to create your final two vignettes using the two remaining Start Images, exactly as you did with the first and second vignettes. After you have completed this, you’ll have a Five-layered Image - as illustrated below.
Taking into account the importance of Balance and Proportion, Resize and Reposition your Five Vignettes to your liking.
Now is a good time to save your Layered Image as a GIMP XCF File.
Fill Layer Tip
My Tutorial Here demonstrates how to create a Fill Layer and Fill it with either a Solid Colour, Pattern or a Gradient.
16/ Flatten Your Layers
From the top menu, choose Image and then choose Flatten Image.
Add A Border Tip
To add a border, from the top menu, choose Filter then choose Decor and then choose Border. And from the subsequent Script-fu: Add Border dialogue box, set a contrasting Border Colour and choose a Width of your choice - and then click OK.
I applied the same Border Twice.
Congratulations, your Photographic Vignette Collage is complete and it is ready to save.
My Text Tutorial Here, demonstrates how to add text.
To create extra impact, apply a Sharpening Filter of your choice - Filters then Enhance.
Now you are more familiar with this technique, you can have lots of fun creating personalised Photographic Vignette Collages.
Wendi E. M. Scarth. Top of Page.